I've seen her when I go walking, or when I drive past her house. She is a young girl, heavyset. When I see her, it is as if she's walked out the door, and plopped to the ground, and she sits there in a jumble smoking her cigarette.
The expression on her face...I don't know. It bothers me. It's so bleak. She doesn't look up. She doesn't seem interested in anything going on around her. She just sits there, plopped.
The first time that I saw her, I thought perhaps it was drugs. The fact that she comes outside to smoke doesn't jibe with that notion. Druggies don't care about the 'no smoking in the house' clause in a lease.
Day after day, the scene tugs at my heart, this feeling that I'm supposed to do something. I don't know what it is. I know that I've spent years trying to help people, and accomplished nothing at all. You can't change anyone else's life.
I saw the scene again, and once again, it bothered me. She was alone, almost prostrate on the sidewalk, not looking right or left. I stared. She did not notice.
When William and I got home, I put a wooden bench in his wagon, and we set out once again. This time, William helped me pull the wagon. The girl was not outside, nor did I want to her to be. I lifted the bench from the wagon, took William's hand, and crossed the street quickly. We set it against the wall of the entrance to her house, under her mailbox, and then we quietly left, crossing the street very quickly. I popped William into his wagon, and we set off for home.
I think of all the faces of all that people that I have tried to help. Some of them, I love so desperately words cannot say. In the end, I could not help. But the fact is that I am a kind person. I am a blessed person. I saw a person sitting on the sidewalk outside an apartment that I know for a fact is a one room efficiency hole in the wall. And I have a bench. That one thing, I can fix. And so I do.
The next day I noticed that the bench was carefully pulled out and set at a neat angle.